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Edinburg hospital to settle lawsuit claiming ineffective communication for deaf patients

Doctors Hospital at Renaissance (File photo)

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include comment from Doctors Hospital at Renaissance.

Doctors Hospital at Renaissance on Thursday agreed to settle a lawsuit claiming the hospital failed to provide auxiliary aids and services for deaf patients, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office Southern District of Texas.

Investigation began after a local deaf couple filed a lawsuit against DHR, claiming the hospital did not provide sign language interpretive services and failed to communicate effectively during their daughter's treatment for cancer.

The lawsuit claimed the hospital violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) at times when the deaf parents were unable to communicate with doctors and medical personnel during their daughter's treatment, as the parents were forced to use a family member to translate, according to the news release.

DHR is now required under the settlement agreement "to provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified interpreters," according to the news release.

Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez stated in the news release:

“This settlement exemplifies our commitment to protect the rights of the hearing impaired and to ensure that they are able to communicate with health care professionals, especially when patients have critical and complex interactions with medical providers.”

The Southern District of Texas will continue to monitor the hospital to ensure it's meeting obligations under the ADA, according to the news release.

Doctors Hospital at Renaissance released the following statement to CBS 4 News:

“Doctors Hospital at Renaissance is committed to providing the highest quality of care to our patients regardless of their race, gender or disability. When we were informed by the Department of Justice that a patient and their family were dissatisfied with our services we began working amicably with the Department on a plan to improve our communications with our disabled patients. Every member of our staff has been trained on both the regulatory requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and on the communication equipment we have available. We are training staff to become qualified interpreters and have hired staff to ensure that all ADA guidelines and policies are followed. DHR is fully committed to implementing the plan agreed to with the Department of Justice.”
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